On January 4, 1962, the Board of Directors of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El established the Kol Ami Collection. It was the dream of Maurice and Badona Spertus who donated many works that form the core of the collection. On March 8, 2002, the museum was dedicated by Ellen and Arnold Rissman as the Arnold Rissman Family Kol Ami Museum, in honor of their children, Lauren, Aron and Jacob, “with hope for the future.”
Today, the Rissman Kol Ami Collection includes the many art works and ritual objects displayed throughout the building and used by the congregation. Its mission is “to accept, collect and preserve objects of Jewish ceremonial art, articles of folklore, manuscripts and documents of historical value, in order to illustrate the biography and demography of the Jewish people from a spiritual and artistic point of view, reflecting the religious and cultural mode of life in the past and present.”
The diverse collection encompasses works from the 18th century to modern times that come from many countries around the world. The collection consists of paintings, sculptures, prints, rare books and Judaic ritual objects such as menorahs, spice boxes, crowns, rimmonim (Torah finials), pointers, breast plates and a unique tik.
The gallery area features objects from the collection as well as visiting exhibits throughout the year.
Visit the Rissman Kol Ami Collection and see some of its treasures.
Current Exhibits: Celebrating Israel: Snapshots of the People Behind a Young State – A Unique Photo Display in Honor of Israel’s 70th Anniversary (from Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People, in Tel Aviv)
Upcoming Exhibit: Visual Midrash: Judaica by Amy Reichert (August 24-October 15, 2019)